Car Sales Pick Up in January

Car sales in January increased 1.9 percent compared to the same month in 2013 buoyed by the release of new models. The country's five major carmakers said Monday that 106,343 cars were sold last month.

Hyundai's sales rose 2.6 percent thanks to strong demand for the latest Genesis luxury sedan and Grandeur hybrid large sedan. Some 3,728 Genesis were sold, more than three times the sales of the preceding model in January 2013.

Sales of the Grandeur hybrid totaled 1,156 units, accounting for 70 percent of Hyundai's total hybrid car sales.

GM Korea sold 10,870 cars last month, up 8.4 percent on-year. The 2014 models of the Captiva small SUV and mid-sized Malibu sedan, as well as a 1.4-liter, turbo gasoline version of the compact Cruze led the rise.

Ssangyong sold 5,445 cars, shifting more than 5,000 vehicles a month since April last year. Renault Samsung saw a 16.9 percent increase on-year by selling 4,500 cars, mostly the SM3 compact and QM5 small SUV.

But Kia, which lacked new models, saw sales decrease around 1.4 percent on-year. Although more than 600 customers signed up to buy the 2014 version of the K9 luxury sedan, only 300 were delivered in January as most were shipped to the U.S.

Exports by the five major domestic automakers fell around 2.7 percent in January to 634,362 units, due to fewer working days because of the Lunar New Year holidays.

GM Korea's exports fell a whopping 25.3 percent on-year to 42,733 cars. Industry insiders say that the drop is attributable to the U.S. automaker's decision in December last year to phase out the Chevrolet brand in Europe.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 04, 2014 13:03 KST